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Learn about Rickshaws

Some people call them Tuk Tuks (they’re suffering from a mild case of being completely wrong, Tuk Tuks are marginally different) but the correctly named auto-rickshaw is the emperor of the road. Well, not literally. In truth you’re quite far down the road based food-chain. More like a fungus than an apex predator. But there-in lies the great genius of this tri-pedal mile-muncher. What’s the point of taking on 1000’s of miles of adventure in a vehicle you know will make it? That just becomes as task. Like filing a tax return. These little shits will break down when you least want it, they’ll fall over as you swerve to avoid the pot hole and the rubbish suspension will make your spine fall out. But yet, they are without question, the most entertaining way to try and get from A to B. Watch this video for 100% proof.

The Statistics

Let’s break down the stats on these pimp-ass-bad-boys for you.

*It’s worth bearing in mind that rickshaws of the same model will probably all be different to each other and words like “power” are in used in the more general sense of there not being any.

  • Engine: 2 stroke, single cylinder, forced air cooled hamster.
  • Power: 7 HP at 5000 rpm  (equiv. 1 family dog).
  • Transmission: 4 forward, and a reverse lever so you get 4 backwards. Handy.
  • Fuel Capacity: 8 ltr + 1.4 reserve. Just less than you need.
  • Top Speed: 55kmph downhill.
  • Engine Size: 145.453cc roughly.
  • System Voltage: 12V , DC until the battery falls out.
  • Passenger Seats: 1 bench seat with room for 2 or 14 passengers.
  • Drivers Seat: 1 seat for up to 3 drivers.

Driving the beast

Any idiot can drive a rickshaw badly, and with a bit of practice so can you.

With this in mind we set aside a couple of days before the Run to familiarise yourself with stalling, failing to find neutral, toppling over and colliding with stationary objects. All the while our crack team of Adventurists and mechanics will be on hand to offer advice, laugh at you and fix parts you break before you start. But here’s a few pre-run tips on driving the mechanical Bhringi. With a cheeky 2 stroke engines that feel quite pokey held in check by handlebars and foot pedals it’s a bit like driving a crash between a scooter and a milk float.

  • If you’ve ridden a scooter it will all make sense.
  • Your left hand has the clutch and gear change.
  • Your right hand has the accelerator and the front brake
  • Your right foot has the occasionally functional rear brakes
  • Most importantly your right thumb hovers, sweating, over the horn button.

The dawn of Rickshaw

These wonders of the motorised world were invented by an Italian chap called Corradine D’Ascanio who we were delighted to discover also invented some quite resplendent flying machines (one we note has three wheels) and designed the Vespa scooter before his career topping moment of bringing the Piaggio Ape to humanity in 1947. In 1959 this trusty marvel was licensed to a then little known Indian company by the name of Bajaj. In the same year the Government of India gave them a licence to sell these beasts and a legend was born. What started in Italy has spread via India to the World. Well done Corradine, we salute you.